If you are a bow hunter, you may have seen stories on television about hunting in exotic places, but have you ever considered that you could take your own trip to places like Africa, Alaska or even New Zealand? go hunting. It may seem too far or too expensive, but those who have felt the thrill of exotic big game hunting often cannot wait to return again and again.
Traditionally used as a term to refer to the hunting of the big five of Africa (lion, elephant, buffalo, leopard and white rhino), the term ‘big game’ is now used to include a wide range of large animals in Africa and throughout the world. , including tigers, antelopes, elk, bears, and bison.
Big game hunting has a long human history. Cave paintings show early man hunting mammoths in groups with spears or rocks. Two of the most popular hunting methods, the use of a tree stand or a point and a stem, are popular with larger game hunting. Blinds can also be used at certain times of the year, usually in the dry season, when animals visit the watering holes more frequently.
In Africa, there are up to ten species of big game available at a time, and you can expect to shoot around six animals during a ten-day hunt. You may not realize the variety you will find in both animals and experiences. In addition to the ones you hunt, there are other exotic animals that you can enjoy being so close.
Africa also offers a wide variety of climates and terrains to give you the best experience available. Some private courses are specifically set up for archery hunting, so they provide the best quality of play and the best conditions available. The main archery season runs from late May through September / October, with July and August being the most popular months to visit. This is because they are the driest months, so the animals visit the watering holes frequently. Many of the animals in heat in late May to June, so this can also be an exciting time to hunt.
Many visitors are surprised to find out how modern the infrastructure and accommodation is in some African countries, providing you with all the comforts of home. Other hunts are also available for those who wish to experience ‘old Africa’ and hunt in a rougher environment, including hunting and tracking on foot. The climate and terrain of the African ranges make them ideal for archery hunting with either method. Many groups and agencies now offer specialized guided tours for big game hunting. These tours often include guides with a lot of experience in hunting big game and the type of animals in your particular area. They also usually have their own blinds or skins installed in the perfect places.
Before preparing to depart, remember to check the minimum equipment requirements with your tour group. If you haven’t already, you should be comfortable taking photos from skins and elevated positions. Shots can be taken from around twenty meters, but follow-up shots can also be taken from more than thirty meters. When archery in Africa, precision is definitely the key.
Another amazing place for bow hunters, and an easier trip from the continental US, is Alaska. If you’ve never visited it before, the scenery alone is worth the trip. From snow capped mountains and glaciers to azure water and incredible tundra in the summer, you’ll want to make sure you bring your camera. You may want to consider more than one trip to take advantage of all the different games available at different times and places.
One of the most sought after big game in Alaska is the brown bear. Here, they grow more than anywhere else due to the abundance of food available, particularly salmon from the annual spawning. Bears average around 8 1/2 feet, but can be over ten feet tall and weigh more than 1,800 pounds. Longer daylight hours in Alaska make brown bear hunting incredible.
Brown bears are also abundant in some parts of Alaska, and there is an area that is open for brown bear hunting year-round. The best time to visit grizzly bears is June, August, and September. Alaska also offers moose and black bear hunting. Like the brown bear, the Alaskan elk are the largest available, occasionally reaching over seventy inches. Moose hunting can also provide the added thrill of traveling to hunting grounds in airboats and jet boats.
During July to September, the tundra offers unprecedented access for hunting black bears. It is not uncommon to see more than forty bears in a single week in early spring. Other species available for hunting in Alaska include Sitka deer, ibex, dall ram, wolf, and wolverine (some may require additional licenses).
New Zealand is a destination that many bow hunters may not have thought of, but it is worth checking out. In addition to spectacular scenery, it offers game animals that you might not experience anywhere else in the world, including deer, stag, wild boar, goats, ram, and water buffalo. The main trophy hunting season is March through September, but bow hunting is available year-round, so there are plenty of opportunities for non-hunting members of your family or group to enjoy other activities as well.
Hunting in New Zealand can involve traveling over challenging terrain in all weather conditions, so you will generally enjoy a hunting trip here more if you are fit and physically fit. However, many safari groups have alternatives available for those in need.
When you go on any big game bow hunting safari you will want to be very well equipped for any situation, perhaps more than you are going to hunt locally. Each area will have minimal regulations on the weight of the draw, and crossbows are also illegal in many countries. There may also be restrictions on the materials and length of the arrows, as well as the type of tips used. Some broad-tipped arrows can only be used on particular species.
Once on many of the safaris or guided tours, particularly in Africa, it is unlikely that you will be able to purchase emergency bow equipment or supplies. Therefore, it is recommended that you bring a good supply of arrows, bowstrings, and any other spare parts you think you may need. Good camouflage colors here are usually muted gray, brown, and yellow.
In addition to your bow and arrows, other recommended equipment includes an arrow hood to protect arrows while traveling, more than one throw, gloves, arm guards, a mask or face point, a small set of tools to make bow repairs on the go, a sharpening tool, wax, lubricant, glue, a pocket knife, binoculars, a rangefinder, and a small day pack.
You may also consider a portal bow vise, additional ropes and cables, sight glasses, arrow rests, sight, stabilizer, limb dampers, silencers, shafts, paddles, nocks, weight tubes, and targets. It is unlikely that you will be able to buy replacement parts once you have arrived, and having a broken bow on the journey would be a disaster.
So the next time you see a great hunt on TV and wonder what it would be like to experience it, grab your computer and check out some of the safaris available. Many tour operators organize special bow hunting trips or group packages, making a trip to hunt exotic animals more affordable than ever.
A big bow hunting destination that you may not have considered is Australia. Like Africa, the country offers beautiful and diverse landscapes. Although big game hunting in Australia is generally restricted to the water buffalo, hunting is a fantastic experience for bow hunters and a different trophy than many will experience. The remote location in the north means that you can hunt in a truly unspoiled wilderness. Animals are unpredictable and must be treated with caution, making hunting challenging.